We often get asked what the difference is between our different rocket stove models: namely our signature EzyStove; the Horizon; and EcoZoom.

Factory-produced rocket stoves have the edge over home-made stoves in terms of durability, strength and stability. But what’s to choose between different models? There is little difference between them in terms of combustion performance and efficiency: they are all around 35% thermal efficiency (compared with an open fire, ~ 10%). They are all based around the same design principles (see postscript below for an outline of what makes a rocket stove), and are easy to light and fed in the same way. So the decision can be really be made on factors like portability and price. And of course personal taste.

Key specifications compared

Price (incl P&P)

£74.95

£79.00

£109.95

Weight (Kg)

2.8kg

2.1kg

7.3kg

Materials

Stainless steel chamber

Steel structure

Air cavity insulation

Galvanised steel top

Stainless steel chamber

Steel structure

Air cavity insulation

Steel outer

Ceramic insulation

Cast-iron top

Cooling down time

Quick ~ 10 mins

Quick ~ 10 mins

Slower due to thermal mass ~ 30 mins

Designed in:

Sweden

South Africa

USA

Stability

Portability

Value

Performance

VERDICT

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Best all-rounder for weight, performance, durability and price. 

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Lightest, slightly smaller footprint. Galvanised components may not outlast the stainless steel.

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Heavy to carry far, worth the extra money (and extra *) if you have a source of your own charcoal.

Summary of comparison

In terms of stacking these stoves up against each other, passive rocket stove technology is really unchanged: they’ve managed to reduce the amount of materials in some like the Horizon and EzyStove, which from a materials and cost perspective, is really positive. The EcoZoom is much heavier and has cast iron in it, which is a little vulnerable to breakage, but in reasonable use should be fine. They’re all about the same thermal efficiency (albeit spun in different ways) and performance. The EzyStove has the widest footprint making it the most stable.

The EcoZoom has the edge of versatility and can burn wood and charcoal (the other two only burn wood). But unless you have your own supply of charcoal, this may not be so important.

I’ve not seen durability data for the Horizon, but EzyStove and EcoZoom are on a par with each others – they’re both widely available in Africa and have been for years, and the Horizon has been in South Africa for some time. They are all good workhorses, designed for performance and durability in demanding conditions. Certainly they’re all substantial enough for an adult to stand on top of without flinching. The paint job on the EcoZoom and EzyStove discolour and peel around the fire chamber after heavy usage (the paint job on all rocket stoves blackens after use) while the Horizon only discolours.

You may also find the more detailed technical response comparing the EcoZoom and EzyStove.

Postscript: What do we mean by ‘rocket stove’?

A rocket stove is a wood-fuelled which can burn wood more cleanly and efficiently than an open fire. It achieves this by containing the burning wood in an insulated chamber, and allowing a good mix of primary and secondary air. It is often built around a ‘rocket elbow’ – a configuration allowing horizontal fuelling and vertical combustion. Switching from a small, well-managed open fire to a rocket stove can result in savings in wood fuel of up to 50% which has made them popular in developing countries. They are also a lot less smoky than open fires! Rocket stove technology is pretty simple, but effective. It’s possible to make an effective rocket stove from household materials, though durability can be a real issue due to the high combustion temperatures.

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